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Board 2021-2023

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Waleska Santiago, President


Waleska Santiago  was a consultant for the Explorations in Puerto Rican Culture Program, run by the Massachussetts Cultural Council and the Springfield School Department. Over the last 14 years, she has pursued her interest in Latin American Art by visiting museums and galleries internationally  including Spain, England, Argentina, Mexico, Peru , and France. Waleska Santiago has been selected as a Latino Museum Studies Student at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonia Institute, Washington DC. as a Fellow. She has a BA in Art History from Mount Holyoke College and a Master Degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University.


Her trajectory of research project has been: Women Artist in the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean, and included listings of women artist from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, born before 1900,  Nuestras Abuelas,  and  Madama: Women, Madonnas, and Mothers among others.

Heshima Moja, Vice-President

Heshima Moja is a dynamic Bassist, Vocalist, Composer, and Cultural Arts Presenter,

who walks in a world where music, art and scholarship intersect. He is heavily guided in his work by the influences of Black Classical Music(often termed jazz), orchestral music, Afro-Cuban Rumba, Hip Hop, The Music of the Arab world, Sufi Music, Ghazals, Indian Classical Music, as well as other musical forms from throughout the African Diaspora, the work of James Baldwin, Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Gaye Theresa Johnson, Fernando Ortiz, Juan Flores, Maria Theresa Linares Savio, Steven Biko. Heshima believes that art should be used as a tool to aid in the development of critical consciousness and to inspire people to imagine new ways of being in the world.

 Dorothy Rivera, Treasurer


Dorothy is an International Business graduate of Bryant University who concentrated in Marketing and Finance. She is a member of Yoruba 2 and is usually in the chorus, dancing, or playing instruments. She  is won Marimbola apprenticeship -1998 and Bomba dance  2016. She is currently working as a Finance clerk at Segue School, Central Falls, RI.

Olga Silva, Interim Secretary


Olga Silva has been a community and political activist for years in Central Falls. She founded, organized, and promoted the Fiesta de Pueblo in Central Falls, since its creation in 1996, to its final year in 2005, with PRIAA backing her up every step. She is the Director of the Blackstone Valley Puerto Rican Cultural Committee.

Gaddier Rosario 

Gaddier Rosario is a Caribbean Visual artist from Puerto Rico, he have had the experience to appreciate the light and colors with the energy and vibration that no equal… know color and be able to project it with the passion of signs from my experiences, is my personal goal. A search to domesticate the gammas with the naturalist and elegance of abstraction and figuration of events and feelings would be the mystical lyric that defines my art.

Franscisco L. Gonzalez


Francisco L. Gonzalez, A volunteer-run tuition-free street academy providing pre-college immersions to youth and adults; a novel Humanities-based, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics scaffolding curriculum is the school's pedagogical foundation. Franscisco L. Gonzalez have an extensive experience as Educational Paraprofessional. 

Gina M. Camacho 


Gina Camacho is Olga Silva's assistant in all matters concerning Fiesta de Pueblo, organizing the Children's Parade, registration and its costumes. She is a coordinator of the Blackstone Valley Puerto Rican Cultural Committee.

Advisory board


Gilberto Mota-México, Providence

Rebecca Flores- Puerto Rico, Cranston

Shey Rivera, Puerto Rico, Providence


Angie Lovegrove- Puerto Rico, East Providence

Brenda Valenzuela-Puerto Rico, North Providence

Liza Gordon-Perú, Cranston

Nelson Cataño-Colombia, Central Falls

L. Maria Rivera-Puerto Rico, Central Falls

New England

Carlos Santiago,  Amherst, MA

Maria Perez, Springfield, MA

Veronica Robles, Boston, MA



Lydia E. Perez Nieves​

Founder and CEO/Artistic Director


Lydia is the founder and the Artistic director of The Puerto Rican Institute for Arts and Advocacy (PRIAA), based in Rhode Island and founded in 1994. The institute champions the gathering and retention of cultural memory, language, and identity transmitting these across generations in the form of education through the arts, not only for Puerto Ricans, but for all Latinos and for all Rhode Island.


As the Founder and Executive Director of PRIAA, she has an extensive record of promoting activities that increase cross-cultural understanding, cultural awareness and self-esteem of children and adults.


Lydia has spent the last twenty seven years as a performer, and cultural educator / activist in the U.S. Cuba and Puerto Rico. She is presenter, singer, drummer, dancer, composer, poetry and artisan. She has been recognized as a community asset by many organization in New England.


Through the arduous 28 years of Afro-Puerto Rican career in Rhode Island and throughout New England, Lydia Perez brings with her the Cultural Heritage Center place, where all the social and cultural activities of PRIAA for the Diaspora in Rhode Island and members of PRIAA are concentrated . More about Lydia Perez, here

 Yidell Rivera

Proposal writer


Yidell Rivera has work with the Puerto Rican Institute of the Arts since 2000 as an Assistant for the Board of

Director through her work as part of her internship.

Now, she is a part time Administrative assistant of PRIAA. 


She has demonstrated leadership skills in computer media, including web site maintenance, video and audio recording, and photography. 

She  reviews all proposals and she is in charge of filling out the Rhode Island Cultural Data Project, (CDP). She will help develop promotional media for PRIAA, including video, band web design.


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